Last updated on September 20th, 2012
I wonder how many gardeners with sun-kissed gardens have been told by “the experts” that Pachysandra terminalis will only grow in shade? Far too many, I suspect. My 8 beds of pachysandra thrive in full sun, much to the consternation of landscape professionals. Would you like to know my sunny-secret?
The trick, I have found, is to keep root systems cool. Proceed this way in early spring or early autumn:
First, prepare the bed. Loosen the soil by digging the bed to a depth of 8 inches, and then incorporate within it a generous amount of leaf mold, compost, or composted manure.
Next, plant the pachysandra. If you are working with unrooted cuttings, merely poke stems into the ground and lightly firm the soil around them. If you are lucky enough to obtain fully-rooted plants, such as those transferred from an already-established bed, wind the long roots into a tight circle , as pictured above, and then plant. New growth will quickly emerge from the encircled roots. Space stems, rooted or not, 8 inches apart. Water the bed thoroughly.
Mulch. A 3-inch layer of mulch is absolutely necessary, not only to reduce weeds and conserve moisture, but to keep pachysandra’s roots cool. My favorite mulches are salt-hay substitute or finely shredded leaves. A seed-germination-inhibitor, such as Preen, sprinkled both under and on top of the mulch, will further discourage weeds.
Water. Careful attention to watering is vital; keep unrooted cuttings constantly moist until growth is evident. I use an oscillating sprinkler to soak my pachysandra beds twice each week, especially during the high-heat of summer.
A well-prepared bed, deep watering, occasional feeding, and last, but by no means least, a thick layer of mulch — these are the cultural necessities that will keep the roots of pachysandra cool, and thus permit this darling of the shade garden to flourish, quite happily, beneath long hours of direct sunshine.
Questions or comments? Post them below.
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